Hamas says a Russian hostage was freed as part of its latest captive swap with Israel

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In the year Updated November 26, 2023 at 10:18 am ET

TEL AVIV, Israel – Hamas said on Sunday it had freed two Israelis with Russian citizenship, while other hostages were expected to remain in the third captured by the Islamic terrorist group in its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Hamas said it released the unidentified prisoner “in appreciation of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts and Russia’s stance in support of the Palestinian cause.” [and] … Hamas.

The Israeli military confirmed the evacuation to NPR. Russian state media TASS also confirmed that the former prisoner was handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The release is part of a third hostage-for-prisoner exchange expected next to last Sunday under the first four-day ceasefire between the two sides. The Israeli-occupied West Bank is showing signs of escalating violence after Israeli forces killed five people in an operation at a refugee camp there. Three others were killed elsewhere in the region, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

On Saturday, a second prisoner exchange came close to resolving what Hamas said was a violation of an Israeli truce that briefly halted the war in Gaza. Israel denies any such violations.

Hours after the release of 13 Israelis and four Thais, Egyptian and Qatari officials announced that the exchange was back on track. After their release, Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners. Thirteen Israelis were exchanged for 39 Palestinians in Israeli jails on the first day of a ceasefire on Friday. 11 foreign workers, 10 Thais and Filipinos were also released.

Oren Ziv/AFP via Getty Images


AFP via Getty Images

Relatives of notorious Palestinian prisoner Israa Jaabis visited her home in East Jerusalem early Sunday after prisoners released by Hamas were released from Israeli prisons.

The hostages are some of the 240 people held by Hamas in an Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,200 people. In response, Israel launched heavy airstrikes and ground attacks on Gaza that killed at least 13,300 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Three Americans — two women and a 4-year-old girl — whose parents were killed in last month’s attack were among those captured by Hamas. Speaking NBC’s Meet the Press On Sunday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said White House officials “have reason to believe that one of those Americans will be released today.”

“But we won’t know for sure until we see her safely out of Gaza and in the hands of the authorities and finally her family,” he said.

Among those released Sunday was 9-year-old Emily Hand. Her father, Thomas Hand, was said to have been killed in the attack. Will be told later. Her body was not found among the victims.

“After 50 challenging and complicated days, we cannot find words to express our feelings,” Thomas Hand said in a statement to the report. Forum of hostages and missing families.

English teacher Tariq al-Anabi at a UN-run school in Rafah, Gaza Strip on Sunday - the third day of a temporary ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

English teacher Tariq al-Anabi at a UN-run school in Rafah, Gaza Strip on Sunday – the third day of a temporary ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

Before the temporary truce began, humanitarian aid groups were rushing to aid civilians in a relatively quiet situation on the ground in Gaza, which had been under relentless Israeli bombardment for seven weeks.

Israeli military officials issued a warning to Palestinian civilians in Gaza on Sunday, ordering them to stay south and not travel within half a mile of the border with Israel.

On the other hand, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that at least eight Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank occupied by Israel in the last 24 hours.

“It’s good that we have an agreement on Gaza, but there is no agreement on the West Bank,” said Basil Abu Nasser, a shopkeeper in the Qalandiya refugee camp near Ramallah. They are still raiding our villages, they are still raiding our refugee camps… detaining and attacking people.

Aman Nafa, whose husband was imprisoned by Israelis, told NPR that the violence by Israeli soldiers and settlers has angered many of her Palestinian neighbors.

“We want the whole world to see what they’re doing to us,” Nafa told NPR.

The Israeli army says its soldiers have killed five Palestinians in an exchange of fire in the Jenin refugee camp. caught upA Palestinian suspected of killing an Israeli father and son earlier this year

Israel Defense Forces Major Doron Spielman said in a statement posted on the social media site Social Media X on Saturday that the IDF is trying to limit the threat to Israeli civilians after a deadly attack by Hamas.

Basil Abu Nasser, a trader in the Qaladia refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, says violence is escalating. "There is no agreement in the West Bank." he said.

Tanya Habjouqua/NOOR for NPR


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Basil Abu Nasser, a trader in the Qaladia refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, says violence is escalating. “There is no reconciliation in the West Bank.

“We have been focused on Gaza, but this has been a multi-front war in the last five weeks,” Spielman said. He also pointed to the threat of Hezbollah. An Iranian-backed anti-Israel militia operating in southern Lebanon.

Israeli officials have said they plan to resume an all-out offensive against Hamas in Gaza after a temporary truce expires.

UN officials said in a statement early Sunday that they hoped the ceasefire would be extended. “The longer the delay, the more aid agencies can send to Gaza and beyond.” Declaration of the United Nations he said.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Saturday that 200 aid trucks had been sent and 187 had entered Gaza by 7:00 a.m. local time. He explained that most of the aid went to the southern areas.

OCHA says 1.7 million people in Gaza, or nearly 80% of its 2.2 million people, are internally displaced and nearly 900,000 are sheltering in 100 facilities in the south.

Monday’s prisoner exchange will be the last under the original truce. But Israel has said it is willing to extend the deal for up to 10 days if Hamas continues to release hostages.

Citing an unnamed Egyptian official source, Al-Qaira News reported that Egypt, Qatar and the United States, which played key roles in brokering the interim truce, are trying to extend the ceasefire.

NPR’s Brian Mann reports from Ramallah in the West Bank. NPR’s Scott Neuman contributed from Tel Aviv.

Copyright 2023 NPR. Visit https://www.npr.org to see more.

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